Poland's first Presidency of the European Union Council started on 1 July 2011. Poland presides over the EU council as the first of the trio: the Republic of Poland - the Kingdom of Denmark - the Republic of Cyprus.
The privilege and, at the same time, the duty of the Presidency was introduced by the Treaty establishing the European Community in 1957. The basic function of the Presidency consists in practical management of the Council's work and the work of its preparatory institutions, representing the Council in their relations with other EU institutions, representing the EU in its relations with third countries (i.e. countries which are not member states) and international organisations, establishing the agenda of EU activities. From the practical point of view, the basic task of the Presidency involves reaching a compromise in the decision-making process in the more and more numerous group of member states.
However, as the experience has shown, the period of six months is too short for a state holding the Presidency to be able to implement the assumed objectives of its Presidency. In this situation, the concept of Group Presidency began to crystallise, within which three countries holding consecutive terms of the Presidency would coordinate between each other their main objectives, which they would like to implement over a longer period, i.e. 18 months of three consecutive terms of the Presidency. The assumption that each Trio consists of a large state and smaller states and that countries of both the old and new European Union will be included in each group of three countries is also aimed at ensuring the implementation of this concept.
Poland, starting its Presidency on 1 July 2011, is the fourth new member state taking over the Presidency. (Previously, the Presidency was held by the following member states: Slovenia - the first half of 2008; the Czech Republic - the first half of 2009, Hungary - the first half of 2011), and the first and the largest country of "our" Trio, which also includes the Kingdom of Denmark and the Republic of Cyprus.
The EU Presidency held by the subsequent member states within the presidency trio is a big challenge for each of them. The Polish side started its cooperation within our Trio with Denmark and Cyprus already in 2008. This cooperation continues on an on-going basis both at the level of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three countries and the coordinators for presidency preparations of each of the countries. The trilateral cooperation between Poland, Denmark and Cyprus is also executed and developed at the level of the interested ministries as well as central offices and institutions.
Source: www.prezydencjaue.gov.pl; Polish Presidency in the European Union Council, publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs